Coping with an Unplanned Pregnancy
A five-step action plan
Discouraged with life in general and feeling somewhat sorry for myself at the time, I will never forget the words of a close friend when I told her that I’d accidentally become pregnant. Her face lit up, she beamed from ear to ear, and said: “You clever girl!”
It was one of the rare moments in life that left me speechless. I’m aware that this was not a standard response, but I have always interpreted her comment as a conscious choice on her behalf to focus on the miraculous concept of motherhood rather than the negative circumstances under which they had occurred. Regardless that a pregnancy may be unplanned, bearing a child is a unique experience and an accomplishment that one can be proud of. It by no means lessens having to deal with the negative circumstances, and no matter what anyone in your life may say or do in an attempt to help, at the end of the day coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy remains a deeply personal and individual task.
I share this experience simply because, for me, it was the defining point at which my attitude changed. My friend’s refreshing response startled me into a new way of thinking about this life-changing event, and that was the key to success.
Pregnancy can be overwhelming at the best of times, and like anything in life, preparation is crucial. Devising a personal action plan will go a long way towards having a positive pregnancy experience.
One: Evaluate Immediate Needs
While it is perfectly natural to experience stages of denial or turmoil during your pregnancy, it is vital that you take the necessary steps to care for both yourself and the child you are carrying as soon as possible. The first step on your to-do list after discovering you are pregnant is to visit a doctor. Use this new experience as an opportunity to improve your health. Habits such as alcohol, smoking, and drugs will affect your baby’s growth and should all be stopped. Any medication, prescription or not, should be cleared by your doctor before being taken.
There are a number of options when it comes to choosing a caregiver to supervise and assist you with your pregnancy and birth—including your family doctor, an obstetrician, or a midwife. The important thing is to find someone that you are comfortable with, and then to follow his or her advice as closely as possible regarding your health, both mental and physical. Remember that you are now responsible for not only your health and well being but also that of your baby. As daunting as the task may seem, a healthy pregnancy will result in a healthy baby, and healthy babies make for happier moms!
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